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Blonde Cucina: How to celebrate like the Irish

by on March 16, 2016 11:45 AM

Thursday, March 17, is St. Patrick's Day, so let’s celebrate with a short history lesson followed by a great recipe.

Held every year on March 17, the day of St. Patrick's death, the holiday honors Ireland's patron saint. It was first celebrated in the American Colonies in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston to recognize the Irish culture that so many Colonists had been separated from.

Today's celebrations have been greatly influenced by those of Irish heritage living in North America. Most celebrations include wearing green, going to parades and some drinking. People all over the globe celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and cities and towns with large Irish-American communities have huge festivals and parades.

On March 17, it’s no surprise to hear of people enjoying corned beef, cabbage, some sort of potatoes and shepherd's pie. Pubs and restaurants often feature green-dyed beverages. Many Irish-Americans are Catholic, and Lent restrictions are lifted on St. Patrick's Day, allowing for drinking alcohol and eating meat. No wonder this holiday is largely associated with imbibing.

March is a great month for soups and stews, so why not make one with an Irish flair. The whole family will love this recipe for corned beef and cabbage chowder. And, if you're having a St. Patrick's Day celebration, it will knock your guests' green shamrock socks off.



Start to finish: 40 minutes

Servings: 6


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, minced

5 ounces matchstick carrots, shredded

3 cups potatoes, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon dried parsley

26 ounces beef broth

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

3 cups cooked corned beef, diced (I normally go to the deli and ask them to cut a chunk for me.)

1 to 2 cups white Dubliner cheese, shredded

1/4 of a head of cabbage, finely shredded

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and potatoes to the pot and stir, coating all items with oil. Season with the salt and pepper and parsley. Pour in the beef broth and allow to simmer.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and keep stirring for 1 minute to cook the flour. Stir in milk and heavy cream and cook over low to medium heat, stir frequently until the roux is thick.

Whisk the roux into the broth. Add the corned beef and allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Stir in the cheese and cabbage and cover, allowing the cabbage to cook for no more than 5 minutes until tender, but not mushy. 

Whether you eat corned beef and cabbage, drink green beer or wear green I hope you have a festive St. Patrick’s Day!

Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
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